Same-sex marriage has been legal in all fifty states for exactly five years. This makes same-sex divorce a relatively newer concept in our traditional system of laws that are a direct reaction to heterogeneous divorces. Same-sex divorces are different from dual-sex divorces in many ways, especially when it comes to fair custody of the children.
Unfortunately, creating and carrying children does not come as easily to a same-sex couple as they do to other couples. Adoption, In-Vitro Fertilization, and surrogacy all help couples to have children together, but sometimes custody isn’t granted to both parents at the time of birth or adoption, which many couples can overlook because it seems so unnecessary at the time.
Many divorcing same-sex couples have different, or unique, hurdles that they must address to do what is best for their children. Creating a custody agreement beforehand, for example, could be a key way to ensure that the decisions made reflect your family’s values. Mediation can help you accomplish this.
The custody of children from a same-sex divorce will be determined by many factors that all custody arrangements are determined:
- the child’s wishes, assuming they are old enough to express them
- the mental, physical, and legal history of each parent
- who can best meet any special needs the child may have
- who can provide the most stable home environment
- who can provide the most quality, one-on-one time
A judge should look at each of these issues before determining the permanent placement of the child, or children. But looking at each individual family unit under the same lens isn’t always in the best interests of the children, especially those children with same-sex parents whose family unit currently demands special attention when it comes to laws that do not currently reflect their circumstances.
Determining Custody In Same-Sex Couples
Until our laws grow to reflect these newer rights equally, determining child custody blindly in court is a gamble that you don’t want to take.
For example, two women who are in a relationship that has utilized in-vitro fertilization to begin their family may have trouble divorcing fairly in the courtroom as only one mother can legally be called the birth mother. The other mother may lose her legal rights to have any access to the child simply based on that.
We can enter into an agreement or marriage with someone who already has children, and work together to raise those children for years, only for a separation or a divorce to keep you from those children forever. If both parent’s names are not on an adoption certificate, that one unmentioned parent may not have rights to the child.
Blended families create so many different stories, these are only a few examples of what could happen in a courtroom.
We create and build our own families based simply on who we love. Your, and your children’s, futures should not be up to a judge that you don’t know. Each family is unique and so important that we must do what is best to maintain stability and positive relationships. You and your former partner have a much more civilized option that will allow you to separate on fair grounds, with the best interests of your particular family in mind.
Mediation Is An Answer
When your divorce is adjudicated directly in court, by an unfamiliar judge, custody is often not fair. There isn’t time to argue in court to get the fairest agreement for all parties, especially in the best interest of the children. One great option is to attend mediation, for this issue or for the entire divorce process. Either way, we can work together to create a game-plan that works well for everyone.
Our mediation process is overseen by a neutral person whose job is to keep you organized, on-task, and calm during a constructive discussion between all parties. The entire goal of a constructive discussion is to solve your problems with each other so that you may agree to a fair and beneficial agreement to the issues that come up with your divorce.
Mediation can also solve problems between you and your partner so that you can forge ahead with a positive co-parenting relationship.
Beckman, Steen, & Lungtrom
Our attorneys at Beckman Steen & Lungstrom, P.A. understand that not all families look exactly alike and can’t be treated as if they do. Mediation and representation are available to you at any time. We can help you protect your family unit in this uncertain time and ensure that your rights are represented.
Contact us at 952-938-3411 for your free thirty-minute consultation by phone or email us on our website. We’re always here to answer your questions.